Robles' career night sets tone for bullpen's heroics

Robles' career night sets tone for bullpen's heroics

NEW YORK -- Terry Collins sped through the list of options. His starter, Bartolo Colon, exited Tuesday night's game with a bruised thumb after retiring one batter, leaving the Mets' manager to think quickly for a replacement one out into the series opener with the Royals at Citi Field.

Jim Henderson is on the disabled list. Sean Gilmartin wasn't available. Erik Goeddel wasn't ready for the task. Antonio Bastardo wouldn't be good fit against the Royals' right-handed lineup. Collins was even approached by right-hander Matt Harvey, who offered to throw an inning. Instead, the manager turned to Hansel Robles.

Robles' previous longest outing came Aug. 15, 2015, when he pitched from the 10th to the 12th against the Pirates. Collins' decision proved smart, as Robles used effective command of his pitches to toss 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball, bridging the gap to the rest of New York's relievers in a 2-1 win over Kansas City.

"We were short tonight," Collins said. "So I just said he's got to be the guy. Let's see if he can get us to the fifth inning."

Although Robles allowed two baserunners before leaving in the fifth, the Mets were grateful for his endurance on a night that could've sapped the bullpen. Colon threw just four pitches before exiting after getting hit by a ball off the bat of Whit Merrifield.

Colon's injury

"Everyone [in the bullpen] just started moving around at least a little bit," Goeddel said. "Better safe than sorry."

Colon sustains bruised thumb

Robles jogged in from the 'pen and briefly warmed up on the mound before getting to work. He allowed a single to Alcides Escobar before striking out Eric Hosmer. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud then threw out Escobar trying to steal to end the inning.

Mets fan one, nab one

From there, Robles allowed just two baserunners from the second through the fourth before leaving in the fifth.

"I hadn't pitched this long in the big leagues yet," Robles said through a translator. "I was a little tired."

For Collins, the reason for Robles' success was simple.

"In the last inning he had the base on balls, but other than that, he threw strikes, and that's always going to be a key," Collins said.

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.